The worlds of literature and politics have been lavishing tributes on Alexander Solzhenitsyn since his death from heart failure on Sunday at the age of 89.
Today the writer’s body will lie in state at Moscow’s science academy to allow the Russian public to pay their own quiet respects.
On Wednesday a funeral service will be held at Moscow’s medieval Donskoi monastery, where he will be buried.
Modest floral tributes have already been laid at his home in the suburbs of the Russian capital.
In his Nobel prize address in 1970, Solzhenitsyn said “literature has it in it to help mankind.”
Many familiar with his work have echoed those thoughts.
Russian film director Nikita Mikhalov said: “Obviously it’s an enormous loss but what he accomplished, and what he leaves us, goes far beyond his own existence. What he leaves us, and Russia, is our future.”
As camera crews worked the streets of Moscow to record public feeling toward Solzhenitsyn in the wake of his death, they found little knowledge of him among young Russians.
Many among them have heard of the name but few have read his works. Schoolbooks overlook the details of the horror and calamitous loss of life in the Gulags.
The extent of the reaction to the dissident writer’s death may awaken in them a desire to find out more.